Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that belongs to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Since the first case was identified in the UK in 1986, BSE spread to other countries including Japan. Its incidence peaked in 1992 in the UK and from 2001 to 2006 in many other countries, but a feed ban aimed at eliminating the recycling of the BSE agent and other control measures aimed at preventing food and feed contamination with the agent were highly effective at reducing the spread of BSE. In 2004, two types of atypical BSE, H-type BSE (H-BSE) and L-type BSE (L-BSE), which differ from classical BSE (C-BSE), were found in France and Italy. Atypical BSE, which is assumed to occur spontaneously, has also been detected among cattle in other countries including Japan. The BSE agent including atypical BSE agent is a unique food-safety hazard with different chemical and biological properties from the microbial pathogens and toxic chemicals that contaminate food. In this review, we summarize the reported findings on the tissue distribution of BSE prions in infected cattle and other aspects of BSE, as well as the control measures against the disease employed in Japan. Topics that require further studies are discussed based on the summarized findings from the perspective of food safety.
This study was conducted to give a preliminary estimation of deoxynivalenol (DON) dietary exposure in Japanese university students (n = 30, aged 22–25 years) using a biomarker approach and to examine the correlation between wheat food intake and DON exposure levels. Spot urine samples were collected from 30 students of Azabu University, Tokyo. Urine samples were treated with enzyme digestion (for total DON measurement) and without (for unconjugated DON analysis) before clean-up using an immuno-affinity column and analysis using an LC-MS method, with a 13C15- DON internal standard used for accurate quantification. The limit of detection for this method is 0.5 ng/mL urine. The geometric mean (95% CI) of DON concentration was 2.03 (1.64 – 6.87) ng per mL urine. Ninety of the urine samples had detectable levels of urinary DON. The DON dietary intake exposure estimation suggested that one out of the 30 subjects had an intake of DON that exceeded Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) level. Mean ratio of free DON to total DON was determined to be 19%. Wheat intake assessed using a basic food frequent questionnaire method did not show a significant correlation with the urinary DON level.
Food Safety Commission of Japan (FSCJ) conducted risk assessments of isobutylamine, isopropylamine, sec-butylamine, propylamine, hexylamine, pentylamine and 2-methylbutylamine, which are used as food additives (flavors) (hereinafter, referred to as “the flavoring agents”), based on the Guidelines for the Assessment of Flavoring Substances in Foods on Health (Decision of the Commission Dated May 2016, hereinafter, referred to as the Guidelines on Flavoring Substances), using various documents. Based on the structural and metabolic similarity, FSCJ regarded that the identical procedures are applicable for the risk assessments of all the flavoring agents. FSCJ judged that the seven flavoring agents have no genotoxicities relevant to human health on the basis of the evaluation of analogous compounds. FSCJ metabolized to innocuous products with no food safety concerns. The estimated daily intakes of all the flavoring agents are within the range of 0.02 μg/person per day to 2 μg/person per day, which are below the threshold of concern (i.e., 1,800μg/person per day for Class I), and therefore, FSCJ judged that the flavoring agents are considered to be of no concern for food safety. In summary, FSCJ concluded, as a result of the safety assessment, that there is no safety concern with the flavoring agents, isobutylamine, isopropylamine, sec-butylamine, propylamine, hexylamine, pentylamine, and 2-methylbutylamine, as long as they are used as flavorings in foods.
The Food Safety Commission of Japan (FSCJ) conducted a risk assessment of hexavalent chromium, hereinafter referred to as Cr (VI), related to the amendment of the standards for beverages established by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Major toxicities induced by Cr (VI) were damages to small intestine and anemia in experimental animals. The finding observed at the lowest LOAEL was diffuse hyperplasia of mucosal epithelium in the duodenum in mice. Regarding to carcinogenicity, Cr (VI)-treatment by drinking water significantly increased incidences of tumors in the small intestine in mice and in the oral mucosa and tongue in rats. Therefore, FSCJ considered that Cr (VI) is carcinogenic. Cr (VI) showed positive results in many genotoxic studies in vitro, and in vivo after parenteral administration, whereas no clear positive results were obtained after the oral administration. These data indicate the genotoxic properties of Cr (VI), though genotoxicity by the oral administration including drinking water remains unclear. The mechanism of small intestinal tumors in mice is considered as follows: Continuous damage to mucosal epithelium in the small intestine by long-term exposure to Cr (VI) induces the hyperplasia in the crypt of small intestine, which would lead to the formation of tumor. In the in vivo gene mutation assays using transgenic rats and mice, no significant increases in mutant frequencies of the transgenes were observed in the carcinogenic target tissues, after exposure to Cr (VI) in drinking water for either 28 (rats) or 90 days (mice)1),2). On the basis of these results, FSCJ judged that the carcinogenic mechanism of Cr (VI) intakes through drinking water was hardly attributable to the genotoxicity. FSCJ considered that the quantitative risk assessment of Cr (VI) through drinking water was difficult to conduct based on the results from epidemiological studies of non-occupational and occupational exposures in human population. Consequently, specifying a tolerable daily intake (TDI), based on the results of animal studies with oral exposure to Cr (VI) through drinking water, is rather feasible. FSCJ specified the TDI of Cr (VI) as 1.1 μg/kg bw/day after applying the uncertainty factor of 100 to BMDL10 of 0.11 mg/kg bw/day, which was ascribed on the diffuse epithelial hyperplasia in the duodenum in male mice observed in the two-year oral exposure study. Since chromium in food is regarded to be present as trivalent chromium3), FSCJ estimated daily intake of Cr (VI) from consumption of mineral water and tap water. The estimation gave the mean and high intakes as ca. 0.04 μg/kg bw/day and 0.290 μg/kg bw/day, respectively. Since both of these two values were lower than the TDI, 1.1 μg/kg bw/day, FSCJ concluded the risk of health effects from Cr (VI) at the current exposure through the consumption of mineral water and tap water to be extremely low.
To the Editor, in November 2018, we published a Short Communication on humoral immunity induction against Salmonella in chickens. We are writing to inform errors on statistics. Our principal conclusions, however, remain unchanged. Original publication “Induction of mucosal humoral immunity by subcutaneous injection of an oil-emulsion vaccine against Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis in chickens” in 2018. Vol. 6, No. 4, 151–155, https://doi.org/10.14252/ foodsafetyfscj.2018003, published online 20 November 2018. The authors regret any confusion or inconvenience caused by these errors.